Laboratory bioassays were conducted to evaluate the toxicity of the microbial pesticide spinosad to different life stages of the two-spotted spider mite, Tetranychus urticae Koch, as well as its sublethal effects on reproduction and population growth of this important mite pest. The biopesticide was applied to bean primary leaves or leaf discs carrying spider mites using a Potter spray tower (2.7 mg/cm2 aqueous deposit). The following LC50 and LC90 (mg/L) estimates for motile stages were obtained in acute toxicity bioassays: 27.52 and 116.72 (larvae), 36.55 and 136.20 (protonymphs), 82.76 and 721.28 (female deutonymphs), and 61.47 and 457.21 (adult females). Spinosad showed no significant ovicidal action: toxic effect observed after spraying eggs (LC50 = 105.78 mg/L, LC90 = 596.95 mg/L) was the result of its residual action on larvae that hatched from the treated eggs. The effects of spinosad on life history traits and population growth of adult female survivors from treatments with 240, 120 and 60 mg/L were evaluated in two successive 7-day bioassays on untreated leaf discs. In the first bioassay, females that survived treatments as 24 h old eggs and completed their juvenile development on treated leaves had significantly lower gross fecundity, net fecundity and instantaneous rate of increase (ri) but the reduction was merely 4–6%, 9–11%, and 2–3%, respectively. Female longevity was significantly reduced (approximately by half a day) only after treatment with 240 mg/L. In the second bioassay, in which females were treated during their pre-ovipositional period, the treatments with 240 and 120 mg/L significantly reduced their gross fecundity (16–17%), net fecundity (28–31%), ri values (8–9%) and female longevity (approximately by one day). Spinosad effects on the intrinsic rate of increase (rm) and other demographic parameters were evaluated in two successive bioassays in which life tables were constructed for females that survived treatment with 120 mg/L at the egg stage (first demographic bioassay) or pre-ovipositional period (second demographic bioassay). In the first bioassay, the intrinsic rate of increase was significantly higher in treated (rm = 0.278) than control mites (rm = 0.267) as a result of higher net fertility at the beginning of reproduction of treated females. In the second bioassay, treated females had significantly lower rm than control females (0.254 and 0.283, respectively). The results obtained in this study indicate that spinosad, applied against insect pests (at field relevant rates of 60–240 mg/L), could eliminate a part of T. urticae population as well, but survivors would retain a significant potential for population recovery.
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